Chien-Ming Wang views Nationals as fallback plan if he can’t land MLB deal elsewhere

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Chien-Ming Wang is looking for a major-league deal or he’ll likely accept Washington’s offer of a minor-league contract and re-sign with the Nationals, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com.

Last offseason Washington gave Wang a one-year contract that included $2 million in guaranteed money and another $3 million in potential incentives, but he struggled to come back from shoulder surgery and never threw a pitch for the Nationals.

His last big-league appearance came in July of 2009, so it seems unlikely that Wang would get more money this offseason than he got last offseason, although with the way teams are throwing money around so far perhaps it’s not as far fetched as it appears.

Hunter Pence is mashing for the Rangers

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Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.

Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.

Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.

What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.

That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.